It’s a promising time to set up a barber’s shop. According to a recent survey mentioned by Startups.co.uk, 83% of barbering professionals expected the industry to grow – and this shouldn’t surprise, given the recent increase of style-conscious men choosing barber shops over hair salons.
While hair salons offer a “unisex” approach, barber shops specialise on the male-focused experience and so can tailor their services to meet male-specific needs. Though this can translate into the clients’ greater satisfaction, barbers do need to take care to protect their customers nonetheless.
However careful you are as a barber, accidents can still happen. A customer may be clipped on the ear with your scissors, trip over the clipper wire when getting out of the chair or even tear their clothes on a protruding nail. In situations like this, you should be prepared…with insurance.
Think about what treatments you want to provide
A strong part of the appeal of running a barber shop is being able to closely account for male-specific requirements and preferences in grooming.
Ultimately, it’s up to you what services you offer – but, as a bare minimum, you should offer to cut, wash and style hair, provide line ups, trim and groom beards and moustaches and provide facial shaving – the last of those including the barber shop trademark of the luxurious hot lather shave.
However, you could augment these core services by also bulking up your know-how about men’s hairstyles to encyclopaedic standards. It would also be useful if you could quickly tell what haircut would suit the particular face shape, hair type and preferences of a given customer.
Your choices of services could have implications for the specific procedures and equipment you must learn to use – and, as a result, for the risks you could run in delivering these services. However, knowing those risks will help you to choose the insurance options most appropriate for you.
Look at what risks are posed in the barber’s shop
This isn’t just about identifying risks to your customers, though those risks obviously do warrant close attention. After all, your customers are the financial lifeblood of your business – and they have rights that could deny or lose you precious money, as the BBC makes clear.
Those rights would include that of suing you if they become ill or injured due to a mistake on your barber shop’s part. If the legal case culminates in you having to pay compensation to the wronged customer, this could prove an inconvenient setback at best, or a cause of bankruptcy at worst.
However, your customers do, of course, share your potentially problematic barber shop environment with your staff, assuming that you do employ staff. They, too, could sue you if they believe your business is responsible for an illness or injury sprung upon them.
As the financial implications of losing a legal case against either a customer or employee can be daunting, you would be advised to implement public liability cover for the former and employer’s liability insurance for the latter. Both types of cover are available from Salon Gold.
Consider how you can provide a high standard of service
You are not required – at the moment, at least – to hold a barbering qualification to work as a barber in the UK. However, it could pay – even literally – to qualify as a barber, not just because it can boost your customers’ confidence, but also due to the extra knowledge you could learn.
That knowledge could help you to improve the quality of your barbering services. This would be no small advantage given that the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 requires barbers to provide their services to a good standard. In practice, this means that, if you leave a customer without the haircut or hairstyle they asked for, they are not obliged to pay you.
Of course, if you let too many mistakes slip into your barbering and many people act on this right to withhold their money accordingly, your cash flow could start looking erratic. A customer could even sue you for a an injury caused during their haircut – in which case, you should have treatment liability cover at the ready.
Want to employ other barbers? You’ll need employers’ liability cover
We’ve mentioned this cover earlier, but we’ll mention it again – as, unlike public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance can be a legal, rather than just practical, requirement. This would be the case if you want to recruit extra barbers to staff your shop.
However, while you can take much comfort from simply knowing that you have the safety net of employers’ liability insurance, it would be especially beneficial if you never have to use it. Hence, you should minimise risks in the workplace – and there are health and safety regulations to heed anyway.
As explained by BusinessesForSale.com, it is legally necessary for you to ensure that both employees and customers are well on your premises. Hence, you should thoroughly assess risks in that workplace and put together a policy which all members of your business should follow.
Draw up an inventory of contents to insure
You often quickly recognise a barber’s shop when you see one. That’s down to the distinctive – some might even say iconic – look of a traditional barber’s shop, including its clean lines, practical tiles and, of course, that red-and-white stripy pole just outside the building.
However, it’s the tools, equipment and supplies inside your barber shop building that will enable you to carry out your services – and that’s why you should pay particular attention to insuring these essential items. These can include shaving cream, dye, and electrical tools and equipment.
Remember to look out for hazards posed by these items – and, in the case of electrical tools and equipment, have a reliable electrician check and maintain them every two years. You could also insure such items with contents cover and stock cover as part of a barber shop insurance policy.